What sort of executive are you?
You may know your business or your industry well. But do you know anything about yourself? Forward thinking executives and business leaders evaluate their employees and clients to help better understand work styles and personality types. Sales trainers try to understand the types of buyers their sales people are talking to and how those buyers will make purchasing decisions. Marketers try to understand the personality types that one can reach out to and how those personalities will receive a message. Understanding the types of people one works with is important knowledge especially for executives.
Peter F. Drucker put forward a simple and basic mission for executives: “get the right things done.” Knowing what motivates clients and employees makes it possible to know what those right things might be. Being an effective leader is what makes it possible to know how to get those right things done. Successful executives look at their own leadership styles and examine how those styles impact the ability to get the right things done.
Depending on what needs to be done and depending on who needs to take action, an executive’s leadership style could be quite different from moment to moment. If an organization is preparing to launch a new service offering to its client base, a good leader would make sure the offering is crafted correctly and talked about effectively. If that same executive is taking a group of sales people to a trade show in order to attract new clients, then he or she would need to cheer on the team as it tries to win against competitors for the orders of clients. In the normal day to day course of business, executives tend to default to their most comfortable or most natural personal style. What sort of executive are you?
The General. The General likes organizational discipline and a rigid and sensible approach to managing the workforce, defining missions and conquering objectives. He or she likes to spend time strategizing, studying the competitors and the surrounding business environment for signs of weakness or opportunity. The General sees business as war, the competitors as enemies and sees his employees as troops. This may seem like an antiquated idea in an era where war is no longer one nation versus another, but there are many important aspects of the general persona that can help executives. Sun Tzu’s advice in The Art of War is still being well used by business strategists. Carl von Clausewitz’s Principles of War is still a best seller. An executive who understands organizational discipline, cohesive and consistent training processes, supply-line management, contingency planning and the collection of intelligence is going to be successful. Doesn’t every business leader want to plant their flag on their enemy’s hill? The downfall to the General is that there is no experimentation, innovation or discussion allowed. If a change or initiative is to take shape, it must come from the top down.
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